Tips, tricks and defaults
By default, every channel of a Dolby Atmos mix will use the “Mid” setting for binaural rendering. This ensures that every mix has the capability to be encoded and played back with a binaural experience. The ability to set Binaural Render Modes allows you, the creator, to define that experience for your listeners.
In the music world a “mullet” layout has become popular for many mixers; that is “Near” at the front (L C R), “Mid” for sides (Lss Rss), and “Far” for overheads and rears (Lt, Rt, Lsr, Rsr). This layout is for the bed channels. Beyond that, rhythmic elements are often set to “Near” mode, pads will be found in the ethereal “Far” mode, etc. These are by no means hard and fast rules, and experimentation is encouraged.
A soloist in an orchestra, for example, may benefit more from being set to “Far” mode to allow the room model to do a little more work, instead of being more present in “Near” mode. Similarly, mixing and matching render modes for objects in the same location can provide a sense of depth when listening on headphones.
Before you distribute your finished mixes via AvidPlay, we still recommend listening to your mixes in a speaker-based environment, whether this is in a mixing room with Dolby Atmos speakers or just checking your final mix on consumer systems with an MP4 exported from the Dolby Atmos Renderer.